What happens when you let go of self-doubt and judgement? When you stop worrying about what others are thinking? When you stop feeling “less than”?
I can tell you.
I am in Orlando for the National Afterschool Association Convention right now, and yesterday I had a very important job for the convention: it was my job to encourage people to attend the “Hero Hangout” last night, the convention’s organized evening networking opportunity for participants, centered around their “Superhero” theme. Naturally, I took that job Very. Seriously. And so! I decked myself from head to toe in spectacular superhero fashion: Wonder Woman meets Captain America meets my beloved pink Chuck Taylors. I’ll just say this—it included a tutu and socks with capes.
And because I was purposefully going for the outrageous, I didn’t go back to the mirror for a second look, for just a bit more primping, for double checking of angles. And I didn’t worry about whether the outfit was flattering or not, or whether I was showing too much of my middle-aged bulge. And I didn’t wonder what other people were thinking of my outfit, or of me, because, well, I KNEW what they were thinking.
And because my job was to be OUT THERE, I didn’t shrink away from the day. I ran into it. I said hello to everyone, I smiled at everyone, I walked up to groups of people and initiated conversation. I walked around all day like a true superhero—fearless and worry free.
It was a pretty good day.
It makes me wonder why that is so hard to do on a “normal” day. Why we’re so hard on ourselves, sitting in judgement and worrying about how we are being perceived by others, and often assuming the worst. Why can’t we just be superheroes every day?
My colleague Ana just wrote a great article about how to activate your inner superhero, and it includes the advice to find the U in Unique. What is unique about you? I’m latching on to that one in particular, because I think for many of us that’s where we go wrong. Instead of celebrating what’s makes us unique, we set ourselves next to others and worry about how we’re different.
But what yesterday taught me, if nothing else, is that when you are capable of stepping fully away from comparison and doubt, two things happen: the first is that your own brain can focus entirely outward, fully present. And the second thing that happens is that that outward focus makes you much more magnetic, drawing people to you. It’s quite a super power—and I bet you have it too.
So get out there, superheroes, and enjoy the day.
How can you just embrace the Super You today?
Wings & Whimsy Activity:
- Think of something you’ve either wanted to do or something you’ve wanted to believe about yourself. Something that nags at you in the quiet of the night or in the face that stares back at you from the mirror. Maybe it’s in the form of a wish—I wish I could write; I wish I had the courage to go back to school; I wish I could sing in front of a crowd. Or maybe it’s in the form of an inner critic—I’m not smart enough; I don’t listen to my kids; I’ll never get that promotion; I’m just not funny.
- First, make a “dump” list of all those things:
- Then, pick one to turn around, to say That’s Ridiculous! to… So, if my first thought was “No one cares to hear my stories,” my turn around would be “My stories are worth telling.”
- Write your turnaround sentence on a post it.
- Better yet, take a whole pack of post-its and write your turnaround sentence on as many of them as you can muster, and post them all around—on your mirror, on your dashboard, on your computer monitor, in your sock drawer, by the coffee machine. Keep them up for one day or one month, but allow yourself to read that sentence over and over.
- During this time, write any thoughts or reflections about this activity.
What was once a blog is now a movement. After four years of writing, three years of workshopping, and book on the way, I have an exciting announcement: I’ve created a six-part Wings and Whimsy webinar series. This personal development series asks, can’t we just be imperfect already?
The series is designed to help you step away from what you think you’re supposed to do or be and just re-discover YOU: the perfectly imperfect you that already exists.
Wings and Whimsy is about power.
It’s about choice.
It’s about joy.
Most importantly, it’s about finding the extraordinary disguised as the ordinary all around us.
In this series you will have the opportunity to reflect, journal, and engage in activities designed to ignite your thinking and elevate your perceptions of yourself and your world. I’m only opening it up to a handful of people before the book launch. And the best part? It’s completely free! So if you want to be entered into the lottery to be one of the lucky few given access to this webinar series (which will open up in April), please sign up below. We will be drawing names on April 1st (no fooling!). Hope to “see” you there…
"Just Be Super You", The Leadership program, Inc. 2016